P5M meant for farmers is deposited in Land Bank

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Thursday, June 12, 2014


FORMER congressman Eduardo Gullas plans to return P5-million worth of financial assistance to farmers in Minglanilla to the National Government following the abolition of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) last year.

“But I will still consult (Department of Budget and Management) Secretary Butch (Abad) about it,” Gullas said.

Gullas, who represented Cebu’s first district from 2005 to 2013, also denied allegations that he gave half of the amount to agents of pork barrel queen Janet Lim-Napoles.

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Gullas was reacting to a Bzzzz report that claims he and his grandson, incumbent First District Rep. Gerald Anthony “Samsam” Gullas Jr. had dealings with Napoles’s agents.

He said the amount remains intact and unspent.

He presented a copy of a certification issued by the Minglanilla Municipal Government that the money is deposited in the Land Bank of the Philippines.

The certification was signed by Municipal Treasurer Wilfredo Alido and Municipal Accountant Brenda Java.

The P5 million was covered by a Special Allotment Release Order dated March 2013.

However, the money was never distributed to beneficiaries after the Supreme Court ruled that the present and past PDAF were unconstitutional.

Gullas said that it was the late Minglanilla mayor Eduardo Selma who told him that some farmers in the town’s mountain barangays needed financial assistance for an organic farming program.

He said Selma had suggested that they would facilitate the bidding of livestock for the farmers once the money arrived instead of buying fertilizers.

People Initiative Bill

Selma’s successor, Min-glanilla Mayor Elanito Peña, for his part, said he is in favor of Gullas returning the money.

That way Gullas wouldn’t have to worry about facing any legal problems later, he said.

Peña said he was vice mayor when the organic farming program was conceptualized.

In another development, different sectors in Cebu City plan to launch the People’s Initiative Bill on Aug. 23 to scrap the pork barrel system in the country.

Msgr. Rommel Kintanar made the announcement during the interfaith rally held at the Fuente Osmeña Circle yesterday.

Kintanar said bill aims to scrap all forms of pork barrel and punish all people involved in the pork barrel scam.

He said total and true independence can be achieved if the bill is approved in the executive and legislative branches of government.

Of the seven groups that will lead the launching of the bill, four are the People’s Initiative Coalition against Dynasty, the Empowered People’s Initiative and Reform Movement Alliance, Cebu Coalition against the Pork Barrel System and Makabayan.

Also present in yesterday’s rally were Geraldine Labradores from Fairtrade Cebu, Dr. Shawn Espina and Ken Ecarma, a member of Student Alliance for Nationalism and Democracy, among others.

Cebu City Police Office Director Noli Romana estimated the number of participants between 2,000 and 3,000. (Franz Correa & Zash del Pilar, USJ-R Mass Com interns)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on June 13, 2014.

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